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» One Touch Football - Archive » Books » Is this the best book of the last 50 years? (Page 2)

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Author Topic: Is this the best book of the last 50 years?
Etienne
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I toook it out of the library on the recommendation of this thread (had to get it in large-print as that was the only copy they had) and I read it straight through in one sitting last night.

It's certainly a very good book, and I was gripped throughout, and it was utterly convincing in how the characters reacted to the situation (I wasn't wholly persuaded that the mother would have made that decision, but there wasn't enough on her to be sure).

My main criticism though was
***MILD SPOILER ALERT***
that there was so little description of the nature of the apocalypse that had led to present situation. I didn't think the reader could properly contextualise the decision to head for the coast without it. For instance, was there a conceivable hope that there might be some sort of functioning civilisation further south, or somewhere that food could still be produced. Or was that impossible (which was implied, but not explained why) and they were moving south simply as a short-term response to winter, or even just to provide them with some sort of purpose, some goal to give their existence meaning.

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Jimski
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I just finished reading it too (my Mum had been recommending it to me for ages), and agree it was utterly excellent. I shared with Etienne a massive dose of curiosity to know more about all kinds of aspects, but I don't agree that that is a criticism at all, but more a mark of just how good a book it was.

*** Hardly a spoiler at all, but you never know... ***

I could hardly bear to read the last few pages. I kept having to force my eyes back onto the page, and to read onwards.

[ 10.12.2007, 19:22: Message edited by: Jimski ]

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gerontophile
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ok... sounds good. What is it about?
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Melbourne Arab
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I read it in what seemed to be a very inappropriate setting - in the back garden, on a blisteringly hot day, me on one sunbed, the dog on another and the kids splashing about in the pool.

It was as breathtakingly brilliant as everyone else has said and, like Jimski, I was almost scared to read the last few pages.

I've told the wife about it's brilliance and also told her she probably shouldn't read it - she tends to get extremely upset whenever anything bad happens to children.

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Pretend Best Friend
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I read it yesterday in one sitting

I can only echo what everyone else has been saying. Brilliantly written, heartbreaking stuff

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Belhaven
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I bought this book today entirely on the basis of this thread. I am looking forward to read it, but wonder if it is possible not to be slightly disappointed with my expectations raised that high.
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Pants
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Be interested to hear what you think, Belhaven.
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Melbourne Arab
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Like everybody else, my wife read it in one sitting.

You just have to.

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Willie1Foot
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I asked for and received it as a birthday present from my son, purely based on what I'd hear about it on this thread.

Won't start it until I fly out to Port Douglas on Wednesday.

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Rory Bunk
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Dunno if it's a Port Douglas kind of book, W1F. You want to bask in the sun and the world around you up there, not sit addictively immersed in a cold, tense other world.
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mafu
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it's to be made into a film apparently, with viggo mortensen

that would be at least the third mccarthy adaptation in recent years. maybe someone will try and do blood meridian...

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Hieronymus Bosch
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Oh god, not him, he's fucking useless.
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Loose Cannon ?
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I'd be kind of disappointed if the best book of the past 50 years is a bleak post apocalypse account of cannibalism and violence.
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Pants
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I reckon the film'll be good. It's going to be directed by the bloke who did 'The Proposition', which I thought was excellent.
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mafu
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I picked this up on friday night, and finished it saturday morning - like most of you i was gripped from start to finish. I'm not sure i found it as harrowing as some, but perhaps that's partly down to not being a parent.

*** SOME SPOILERS ***

I found it incredibly tense. There isn't much else i can think of in literature that's so concerned with basic survival throughout. It's quite draining. From the start when he mentions the need not to be seen, the need to able to drop the cart and run at a moments notice, you're waiting for that moment when they bump into someone. When it happens (as it does throughout, suddenly, here and there), it's thrilling and terrifying. And it's all the better for the briefness of these encounters, there's just enough detail given to let you imagine the full danger at hand without spelling it out and veering into some godawful mad max type thing. it was quite hemingwayesque in that sense

Likewise the back story, such as there is, is told with great economy. The scene where the father wakes in the night to the distant light and sound of whatever disaster has occurred is one of the few bits of wider exposition and it's very short but terribly effective. then there's a slow accumulation of detail and hints at what has happened but there's also a sense that the how and why of it all long ceased to be relevant when measured against the hunt for food and shelter.

I found some of the meditations on what was lost and being lost incredibly sad and moving. the death of language, the fate of words for things that no longer exist. i was particularly struck by the father having to resist his dreams and memories - "the right dreams for a man in peril were dreams of peril and all else was the call of languor and death"

whether it's his best, i don't know, though it is certainly one of them. In many ways it's a very simple book (which isn't a criticism, it's one of the reasons why it works)

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